Let’s stay six feet apart

These are some crazy times. I keep thinking of sitting down to write something, anything, but then I never do. So much is going on and my thoughts are like the pollen floating through the air in this city I call home. I wonder if the thoughts, like the pollen, will land some place worthwhile. I wonder a lot.

Someday someone will write the story of how, in 2020, there was a pandemic that overtook the world. And the readers will wonder and marvel at the ignorance of some, and the sheer fierceness of others. They will look at photos with captions about how the playgrounds at the community park were closed, but families still could be found with their children climbing on the playground equipment and swinging on the swings. Or they will read about the church that refused to stop having services. Putting so many at risk. Will they also read of the people who reached out to one another in this time of need, or the medical staff, all the hospital staff, who kept working day by day knowing that they might be the next one taken down by this virus? I will purchase that book when it comes out, but I may not read it.

To think this all could have been, not prevented perhaps, but knocked down to a much lesser degree. So many people have lost their lives to this—so many more will. I take issue every time someone tallies up another death using the words; they had underlying conditions. It bothers me more and more. Let’s put it this way. If the virus hadn’t been able to take such a stronghold, all those with underlying conditions would still be here. They would be alive. Their families would not be in shock, trying to wrap their heads around how something like this could happen. Let’s never lose sight of that fact. This didn’t have to happen.

We have experienced epic failure by our government. It isn’t the people in the United States who failed in this; it is our government who failed all of us by not being prepared. And we will never be ready as long as we value money more than lives. For preparation, we would have to stockpile needed items waiting for the possibility of a time of mass crisis. Such preparedness would cost money and require an ongoing investment. Investments in a place to store the items, in the things themselves, and in the workers who need to be in charge of rotating stock and keeping track of the assets. If everything works the way it should, we won’t need all those stockpiled supplies, all the masks or ventilators, or other protective gear. But that means we are putting money into something without getting an instant monetary return on the investment. And it might happen for the next few years that we do just this. But then someone in government will decide it is a waste of money or a waste of resources because money is always worth more than people.

I work in a hospital, an inner city hospital with level one trauma care, supporting a variety of computer/software/who knows what items and people. Seriously, I support people too. It is not in my job description to be sure. But the stories I could tell which were told to me… I never tell those stories. But I always sit down and listen to the person telling them. I always listen.

This past Friday, I was in the ER, and it felt so unnerving to me. It’s March, and the ER was full. Usually, that thing does not happen until May when the Trauma season begins. Trauma season is when people get out and try to do chores such as tree trimming or cutting the grass (and running over their foot) or driving fast, enjoying the weather, and then ending up in the ER with injuries. Friday, when I was in the ER, I saw machines labeled non corona use and some people in masks and most with no protective gear. I saw people putting their lives at risk to help those in need and still laughing and smiling. I miss the days where I would think the worst thing I needed to look out for was blood trails leading into the ER. Or the unknown bodily fluid trail. I have washed my hands so much and used so much hand sanitizer I wonder about long-term effects. I am aware, constantly aware, that all these people who I work with, some I have worked with for the past eight years, are all in danger. And that we may put others in danger without knowing it. It is now mandatory to have our temperature taken each day using a no contact thermometer. I warily check the results each time.

We are practicing social distancing here in this state where I live. Our Governor holds a press conference each day to tell us we will get through this. He says it will be hard, and it will get worse. The Governor is losing his voice, and no longer wears a tie or sport coat. Most days, he wears a button-down shirt and jeans. The Governor has closed everything except essential businesses. We can get delivery or carryout from restaurants. Grocery stores are still open. The liquor stores are open. I guess that is an important business. Schools closed two weeks ago. No one knows when the end will be in sight. What we know is, if we don’t take make changes now, more people will suffer.

Let’s be a good neighbor and stay six feet apart as Andy Says.

“The smell of hospitals in winter
And the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters, but no pearls
All at once you look across a crowded room
To see the way that light attaches to a girl”

-Counting Crows

Snippets

if it is badly written
if it is poorly said
should it be kept quiet
or do we throw it into the wind
and wait for it to come back to us
silence is not really a virtue
not all the time anyway

——————————–

trying to write
it’s the facts that cause me to stop
I have never really been
factual

———————————

I have the alphabet forming disjointed sentences leading to open ended paragraphs traveling though my head this morning. And this is what it is like when change is afoot. 

Return

I have always loved this part from Ovid, The Love Poems;

“What can it be that I should find my bed
So hard, the blankets slipping, sleep quite fled,
And through the night, so long, I lie awake,
Tossing about until my tired bones ache?”

Days end

“The days are gods and we are best obliged to honor them with an awareness and a presence. Do not take them for granted. Embrace each moment, turning from nothing. Such is divinity in the making. “

-Doug Bruns

Everyone is a critic

I am reading, Leonardo The Complete Paintings, by Frank Zollner and Johannes Nathan.


Imagine my surprise when I came across something of which I think we could all relate. In one part of the book, the authors write of how the individuals who had Leonardo and his two (unnamed?) partners paint the Virgin on The Rocks set out a list of things they wanted to be completed in a particular manner. Remember we are talking about Leonardo da Vinci. Yet, at that time in the 15th century, the individuals who are paying Leonardo for the artwork had no problem with setting out a list of items to be fixed or completed in a certain way.


Here are some examples:
“Also, the gown is of gold brocade and crimson lake, in oil.”
“Also, the mountains and rocks to be worked in the oil and differentiated with several colors.”


It is almost impossible for me to imagine telling such an artist, or any artist, how to paint or create anything. But, at the time, he wasn’t recognized as the artist we know of today. Still…


Are you trying to become better at something? Remember, even Leonardo da Vinci had his critics. And he probably still does. But don’t let that stop you from becoming the person you want to be.

Time on my hands

These past few weeks I have had a lot of time to think. And think is one of the few things I have done.

Almost 8 years ago (8 years in January of 2020) I went to work at a Hospital in their I.T department. Very quickly it came to light that Management and I had grand ideas as to how to change the out of date atmosphere and improve so many things.

Within 6 months the manger who I was working with, moved up to a new position making more money.

Not long after this I found out we were going to merge with a larger hospital corporation.

Within two years of me starting at the Hospital I moved into another position, then went to work for the new larger corporation ( with me still working at the hospital) .

Then I moved into contract mode as the larger corporation did not do Technical I.T instead it contracted those duties out with a company based out of India. Oh yes.

At this time everyone who could jumped ship. But I stayed behind and picked up more duties while losing sleep over all the craziness that was going on. The lack of support the lack of coordination. The unhappy end users. You name it.

Then after a few years of chaos the Hospital decided to dissolve the partnership. The hope for me, at least in my eyes, was that everything would go back in house.

That did not happen. I was however picked up by the local I.T contracting firm, the company whom would be taking over I.T support for the Hospital. I was given lower pay and less benefits. That happened two years ago. And now the hospital is merging with another local entity.

I knew something was up. And I knew I was tired of dealing with all the crazy. Almost 8 years and I have worked for 4 different employers all while parking in the same parking lot and walking into the same building.

I began the process of looking for another job. Even though I had projects I was working on and even though I had co-workers depending on me.

Then last October 11th,with the the local I.T contracting company saying they are not going anywhere and will keep this lucrative (my words) contract – I was asked via a text by my manager to stop by the office. It’s a nice office. A whole new building was just completed recently using, I am sure, the record gains in income from the I.T Contract with the hospital.

And it was there that I learned that they did not need me any longer. On October the 11th I was let go with 1 month severance package.

I truly felt the earth move under my feet. So many thoughts. So many worries.

I went back to work that day and emptied my desk.

Surprisingly by the time I made it home, upper management at the Hospital called me to let me know how they had no idea this was going to happen. They also told me that the following Monday, I had an interview for my now-former position, but this time I would not be a contractor.

It is terrific that so many people moved so much around to make sure I would not be left jobless. And I did get a small pay increase to boot.

But almost three weeks without working has left me time to think.

I think I need to take control of some things. I need to imagine a new path where no matter what happens (within understanding), I will be able to be self-sufficient. The idea of being unemployed did more than freak me out.

I have to take care of my eight-year-old great-nephew. I am the one who pays the bills and keeps things from going into utter chaos. My significant other has a hard time paying the one bill which she is responsible for. A bill she keeps forgetting to pay or thinks she pays or who the hell knows what. She is a very self-aware person in that if it is something she wants, it always comes first.

Me, I don’t like having anyone or anything able to control so much of my life. And with that, I am looking at my options. Or better yet looking to create opportunities. I want to be if not totally dependent on my self for my work and the money I earn; then, I want to be in a place where at least I can try and supplement my income in case something like this happens again.

And with that I am thinking.

And exploring.

And I am trying to imagine a new game plan.

Before I no longer have so much time on my hands.

Autumn is the hardest season

Photo credit- myself

“Autumn is the hardest season
The leaves are all falling
And they’re falling like they’re falling in love with the ground
And the trees are naked and lonely
I keep trying to tell them
New leaves will come around in the spring
But you can’t tell trees those things
They’re like me they just stand there
And don’t listen”

-Andrea Gibson

But you’re smiling like I can’t afford it

“I’m so nervous I won’t make it
‘Cause that’s my favorite waitress
Those big brown eyes
I don’t know what I ordered
But you’re smiling like I can’t afford it”

-Julia – Mt. Joy

Every time I hear this line in this song it makes me smile. No matter what mood I am in, and no matter where I am.

Once upon a time I was at this music festival ready to enjoy a day of music outside on a beautiful October day. And then it rained. Rained as if the sky couldn’t hold it in any longer. As if it had been building up and up and then whoosh. Kinda like well you know. And this was in Houston so even a little rain makes a flood. After quite a bit of running around the entire festival was moved to a bar – not even sure any longer if I recall the name of the bar. Hell it is probably gone by now like most places where women used to gather.

At any rate when we made our way through the doors and into the bar it was asses to elbows deep with women. I mean it was packed. I was excited to be able to see/hear all of these Artists whom I was/am enamored with in a much smaller venue than where it was to be originally. Artist such as Doria Roberts, Catie Curtis and Nini Camps (before she joined Antigone Rising) There were others, but those were the ones I wanted to hear.

To make an extremely long story short, and to bind up the loose ends with the song lyric posted at the beginning of this entry, it became a very late night because of the rain delay and they had to find another venue yadda yadda yadda. To top it off I was not 100 percent before the music started, I think it was allergies or something. So yeah it was near the end of the night when I had finally managed to procure a table to rest my sickness at,  enjoying the music in my sick misery but no longer using my body to  hold a wall up. It was then  I noticed someone staring at me from across the room. I did sort of know this someone,  she had an on again off again thing with a friend. And do you know this attractive lady  gave me a glass of ice water without me asking? It was a miracle. Seriously. Angels may have been singing. Or it could have been the fever.

As I said I was not feeling 100 percent – but I had not told her such. Then before we left the bar at the end of the night, we were all saying our goodbyes (as some people are want to do) and the attractive lady  was speaking to someone to the right of me when she reached out and caressed my left arm … yeah.

Bottom line is I would have bought her anything she wanted in that moment. Anything.  I know me and this is so very true. Why? Because she had that smile and I knew I couldn’t afford it.